an experiment in looping comments with posts
1. (botany) the period or act of expansion in flowers, especially the maturing of the stamens.
By adding an ‘e’ to this, do we get a verb? Anthesise!
More from Wikipedia: Anthesis is the period during which a flower is fully open and functional.
Obviously this is ripe for the … *drum roll* … metaphorical picking.
See also, though, my earlier post on parallels between romantic love and picking orchids, which leads me to a post about how lust corrupts power, not love, and from there onto displacing the shame of impotence with our old friend, awareness. Be careful, it’s a rabbit warren in here sometimes.
nothing worth doing is ever especially easy
By going trucking i have already identified 2.5 massive things about myself that will greatly enrich my character if i persist in seeing through what i have to learn from this experience, much thanks to Mum and my friend Kathy.
It has been hard and it will continue to be challenging, but i am determined to (re)produce evidence for myself that nothing worth doing is ever especially easy. (My whole life i have been over-extending myself in the pursuit of personal growth, and i don’t want to quit now.)
I say 2.5 because i haven’t yet fully unpacked the third and biggest insight, about the importance of relationships, family and community in supporting us through the hard process of becoming the best we can be.
The other two insights will be revealed in my forthcoming adventure-memoir, due for release in 2025—after i execute my first long-distance adventure and wend the story of it with my growing understanding that a sense of adventure is essential in the pursuit of happiness and wellbeing, especially in this fractured modern world where we have to make shit up as we go along all the time.
For now, goodnight or good morning, wherever you are—i must return to my state of tortured sleeplessness in the tee-pee i found on the outskirts of Berri.
Monday 26 January
Renmark, South Australia
Day Three of my Adventures in Sobriety series,
in which i first begin to rediscover the similarities between adventure and life.
So it’s Day Three and i have a wicked headache. I’m sucking a coffee at Macca’s and hoping it’s caffeine withdrawal. The internet here is working at a pace that painfully represents the mush of machinations i might otherwise call my mind. A cold sore has cropped up, and i’m treating it with the wonderous Roseneath Organics Cold Sore Salve, which is mostly bees wax and coconut oil. (Catherine put me on to this article about coconut oil, which concludes “coconut is not a superfood, but it’s not a syphilitic cock either”—the title of the article, ‘Is Coconut Oil Just For Rubbing On Your Titties Or Is It Truly A Superfood?’ Gold.) Continue reading
In the thick of a days-long muse attack, i see now that i am drafting a memoir essay about, among other things, the neurosis behind impotency: stay tuned to miss out on the gory details when i bail out and publish under a pseudonym or in some dark corner of the internet under the guise of an immersive-text experiment that no one will care to find.
I am profoundly excited about the prospect i have encountered of entering into shadow work at last. I encountered this term a while ago through a seeker friend and i find it interesting now that i guess i kind of ignored it, but more recently i have also encountered some powerful practices that can take us into our shadow safely, and out the other side into light.
I am now cautiously beginning to research psychology in my haphazard way, and i am newly curious about how i can take such intellectual understanding into meditation in the hope that i can more directly experience these psychological phenomena described by the likes of Jung and Freud.
I don’t want to just learn about psychology—i want to plumb the depths of my own psychology, my ego structure and the other mechanisms of the mind that can hold us in this state of separation from our being,
because it seems clear to me now that only the light of awareness can displace the shadow.
Wow, just writing this brings to my eyes those tears of opening to the divine, those tears that mingle sadness with joy and come from the feeling you’re on the right track, yeah!
a rambling five-part exploration of how spiritual healing must complement lifestyle changes that will facilitate spiritual healing – Part II is here
I arrived in December 2013 on a three-week luxury bus tour with my mother. I am still here, seven months later – though i’m writing from Lesvos, a Greek island a few hours off the west coast of Turkey.
Leaving the Eden Hills sanctuary in Australia, i was worried that i would allow myself to be derailed from the progress i was making. So be it: in Istanbul i took up smoking again, stumbled in love and fell, and gradually plummeted back into despair.
I started drinking again, smoking weed … but in a new way. Even in my despair i knew that something had shifted when i was at Eden Hills – something had shifted in me and made way for the growth of self-love, which cannot co-exist with the sort of self-hate that had previously left me seeking oblivion in consumption and other external sources. I had resumed attempting to fill myself up from without, but i was more aware that this was what i was doing.
The relationship broke down as i accepted that external romatic love is just another thing i was eating, trying to fill myself up from without, when what i knew i really needed was a practice to cultivate self-love. We tried to be friends and walked some days on the Lycian Way together, but things broke down further in Kaş and we went our separate ways.
Pained by another cherished friendship jeopardised, i was alone again, and homeless, again. So i walked forth into homelessness and arrived at Çıralı, a lot sad but mostly happy and relieved that my pilgrimage had resumed. Another start.
In Çıralı i met a young Italian woman and an old Turkish man. We communed, and Maddy inspired me to travel back up the west coast to the Mount Ida region, where an Osho festival was being held. We had been talking about our respective practices, and i about how mine had waned. I said i couldn’t get back to Thailand until December, as though my practice is somehow dependent on place, which, to some extent, it is for now – i need/want to be in an environment conducive to meditation and the lifestyle practices that support the inner journey.
I have not yet cultivated enough of an inner sanctuary that will mean i can carry my practice with me wherever i go. Meanwhile i oscillate between strong practice, lackadaisical drifting and binge alcoholism.
Drifting is important, though. I was reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance at the time, which helped me understand that sometimes drifting is a necessary part of our life process. I was drifting when i arrived at Çıralı, and i was drifting as i sat in Yilmaz’s beer garden, talking to Maddy and Özer.
The important thing about drifting is you eventually bump into something. I bumped into Maddy, and i bumped into her reply to my saying i couldn’t be in Thailand until December, which was the simple, profound question: “Why?”, a two-fold question: on the surface it meant Why can’t you go to Thailand now?; underneath it also meant Why can’t you practice now?
There are logistical reasons i can’t be in Thailand now, but there is no reason i can’t practice now.
So i went to the Osho festival, and from there i went to Osho Afroz in Greece. In Turkey we did a lot of daily Osho meditations and group sessions with various therapists, one of whom was Giten, a breathwork and trauma-release specialist.
In Greece we finished an eight-day course in breathwork training.
What i learned in the course is that i do not know how to breathe properly (gasp!); i have almost no inner connection with my body; i have much tension to let go of, and i am learning how to do so with breathing; my chakra system is in a sorry state of disrepair; i am disconnected from my core creative energy; i have many mechanisms for keeping myself separate from this core, from myself, others and the divine love of the universe; i am afraid of how i will feel without these mechanisms.
In the first days of the course i touched a deep sense of peace and joy, but for last days I felt utterly terrible, deeply ashamed.
I have learned that when i connect with and accept the trauma that has lead to the development of such mechanisms i begin to heal, but that healing is often painful. It feels trite to say that we must go through the darkness to get to the light, but i feel that is a fundamental truth of self-healing. As Florence Welch says, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.”
a rambling five-part exploration of how spiritual healing must complement lifestyle changes that will facilitate spiritual healing – Part I is here
After Southeast Asia
In 2011 i went to Southeast Asia for the same reason millions of other seekers have left the West, disillusioned from a culture that promises meaning in the meaningless: possessions, wealth, material well-being … all of it ephemeral in that mundane way – fleeting, impermanent. I am seeking the everlasting, our spirit.
I went on the uncertain hope that i would be awarded an arts grant that would support me to continue my career while i investigated Buddhism on the side. The grant came through, and i spent eighteen months in Thailand and Cambodia, three months teaching creative writing in Phnom Penh, the rest of the time writing a novel manuscript when i wasn’t struggling against the pull of my old self to escape into the above-mentioned external sources of so-called succour.
I feel like i’ve told this story a thousand and one times, to others and to myself. I don’t want to be my story anymore.
I came back from Thailand an alcoholic, stoned out of my brain. I had done all that i could to make the grant project a success in unfavourable conditions and, by the time i was leaving i finally made my way to a five-day stay in a Chiang Mai monastery.
There, i touched a sense of peace and calm that i hadn’t known existed within me, and that was a start.
a rambling five-part exploration of how spiritual healing must complement lifestyle changes that will facilitate spiritual healing – the Introduction is here
Fits and Starts
There is a new comb. It can be used without reference to the ‘i’. There was a festival, and there is an OSHO commune on Lesvos, Greece. Here, there and now, there is an alternative way of living. It is the way of light, of love, of uncontrollable and inexplicable laughter: laughter that bubbles up from the well-spring of a healthy spirit.
I have been experimenting with writing without reference to the ‘i’, to the ego, but it is proving difficult – it feels detached from reality, disembodied. Maybe it’s too much for now, because the thing is i’m still attached to my sense of ‘i’, to a sense that things happen to me, or that i do things.
It’s complicated. I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle again, A New Earth. He has a lot to say about how we invest a sense of self in objects, things, people, whatever – things that ultimately exist outside ourselves, and are not us. And i have obviously been reading and listening to Osho, who has a lot to say about witnessing, about that part of our consciousness that can observe our ego, thereby separating us from what Eckhart would call the mind-made self – a way to start moving toward liberation.
a rambling five-part exploration of how spiritual healing must complement lifestyle changes that will facilitate spiritual healing
For years now i’ve been implementing lifestyle changes from habits that are bad for me toward a way of being that is most conducive to spiritual progress. To a considerable extent i have succeeded, but sometimes i relapse and binge. Through experiences i’m having lately between an OSHO festival in Turkey and an OSHO commune in Greece, i’m learning that the reason some of these changes don’t stick is i am not focusing on the root cause of these behaviours – i am trying to treat the symptoms of a spiritual malaise rather than working on the wounds and conditioning underlying that malaise. Continue reading